A Family
18 May 2004
What makes a family? It's more than blood, I know that. There's way too many examples of people who will betray their blood for money, fame, power or other fairly inconsequential things.

It's not the law because people are incorporated into or cast out of families in innumerable ways that have nothing to do with legal standing.

It's not the government because, as wonderful a document as the Constitution of the United States is, our politicians, judges, and other officials bend it's tenants and principles every day for to thier own selfish intrests or those of the people who have placed them in their positions of authority. Also, because of the all too human limitations of our lawmakers, those things which are supposed to encourage or protect families, often paradoxically end up limiting or complicating who you can incorporate into your family.

It's not the church or any religious body. If it were, then churches would be full of happy families. They aren't. The families in churches are just as likely to be just as happy, miserable, abiding, or broken as anywhere else.

So what is it that makes a family. I don't know. But I'm pretty sure it's a voluntary thing. The people I consider part of my family include the people I was born into, the people I married into, and the people who are part of my family just because they are people we love.

This last thing is probably the only thing that really defines Family. Love. We love the people who we love for any and all the reasons we love them.

I'm not sure you can define love as a choice, really. At least not a choice like, say, ordering a meal at a restarant. Love, family, and other personal relationships can't be chosen from a menu or cooked to order. All these things happen as much by chance as by choice.

I'm happy to have my family. Whether by birth, by marraige, or all the other ways that people have stumbled into my life and decided to stick around, I'm happy to have them around.

To all the people in Massachusettes who's families are now recognised not only by God, but by enlightened state law as well, I say congratulations and be happy. To all those who think Massachusettes' new definition of family threatens theirs, I say, Free your heart and your family will follow.

Kelly @ 10:01 |
Just Like Daddy
4 May 2004
Oh Lord. There's nothing sweeter or more frightening to me about the Kids when they want to emulate me in some way. Last night, Zane went to bed without his pajama shirt on because "that's the way Daddy sleeps."

That's so sweet it makes me want to cry. On the other hand, I'm not the greatest role model. I'm unappologetically lazy. I still haven't lost the 20 pounds I gained when Jill was pregnant with Carter, Sara, and Zane (she gained 0 pounds). I get way too frustrated with them way too quickly when I'm tired--Read: Everyday. The words that come out of my mouth can be sarcastic and snippy--even downright ugly--when I'm tired and they are acting, well, like children. I'm horribly self-centered and try everything I can to wrestle a few extra minutes for my selfice pursuits often at the expense of doing something with them (this probablly accounts for, i dunno, 5 minutes of my time each week). I am shamelessly self-absorbed (if you're reading this, you've probably figured that out). And, I'm supremely overconfident about things I'm mediocre at and and supremely insecure about things I should be competent by now--like being a parent.

On the other hand. I think I'm honest about my shortcommings. Which is a positive attribute. If I overeact, I appologise to my children. I hope they understand that forgiveness is something one first must be able to give in order to be able to receive it. I'm not a slave to my children's wants, whims, and desires, but I try really hard to wrest a few minutes every day for each of them to talk about things that are important to them.

On the totally other hand. I'm a fairly upstanding guy. I have no horrible vices. Of the 7 deadly sins, I'm only habitual at 6.5 of them.
Kelly @ 16:40 |
Call Of The Wild
3 May 2004
Sometimes I discover things about my kids that surprise me. Everyday, I'm surprised that they are mine...but seriously folks, take my kids--PLEASE!

Really, seriosly...

Recently, quite by accident, we read "Princess Lollypop," a sweet little retelling of "The Taming Of The Shrew." The surprising thing was how I previously hadn't noticed how much the kid's attention span and memory has grown.

"Princess Lollypop" is quite a bit longer than most kids books and it took us a week of bedtime story time to get through the whole thing.

A few weeks later, Jill and I were at a book store which had the "Illustrated Classics For Children" series on sale and I bought 4 of them. The kids have flipped over them.

It began as kind of an experienment which has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. The kids have become so engaged in the books that they actually look forward to bedtime and I don't dread doing my bedtime duty.

The first that we read was Dickens "Great Expectations." I was a little afraid that it would be over thier heads and some of it was. However, they were totatly carried away by the parts they understood which was surprsingly most of it.

We are now reading London's "Call Of The Wild." They are totatly locked into this one as well. There are parts of it that make me uncomforatable--it has some rather gory parts--but the Kids seem less bothered by that than I am. Of course, the kids don't get beyond the narrative into how the story of the Dogs is supposed to be a metaphor for human existance, but that's OK. They are totally into the story and learning a whole bunch from it.

Including how to irritate me with constant questions. Before we get a complete sentence into a new chapter, the kids have a billion questions. "Daddy, what does "the" mean?" Most of the time, they just want to participate in the storytelling and I just want to keep things moving so they can go to bed and I can get my one alloted hour of rest and recreation before it is my time for bed.
Kelly @ 13:41 |